Isaac Anumihe

Following the rising incidences of armed robbery cases and kidnapping of  seafarers, International Labour Organisation (ILO) has moved for the amendment of Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 which will ensure a juicy  welfare  package for kidnapped seafarers.

With the new  amendments,  seafarers would no longer forfeit their remuneration in the event of  being kidnapped or captured by pirates or sea robbers during the course of their duty

The  amendment is very relevant to areas still prone to sea robbery, kidnapping and piracy.
Also, the  amendment will ensure that  each  member shall require that a seafarer’s employment agreement shall continue to have effect while a seafarer is held captive on or off the ship as a result of acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships, regardless of whether the date fixed for its expiry has passed or either party has given notice to suspend or terminate it.

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Also, the  important clause of the amendment has to do with  the area where a seafarer is held captive on or off the ship as a result of acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships, wages and other entitlements under the seafarers’ employment agreement in line with relevant collective bargaining agreement or applicable national laws, including the remittance of any allotments as provided , shall continue to be paid during the entire period of captivity and until the seafarer is released and duly repatriated in accordance with  set standard.

In case of death of the seafarer while in captivity, the amendments also ensures  the applicability of the law until the date of death as determined in accordance with applicable national laws or regulations.
These amendments will go a long way in protecting the interest of seafarers in situations outside their control.

Speaking on  the sidelines of the ongoing 107th session of the international labour conference taking place in Geneva,  Switzerland where the majority of  member states and stakeholders in the maritime sector overwhelmingly voted for amendments to the convention with special attention to seafarers welfare,  Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside  commended member states of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), shipowners and representatives of seafarers for taking cognisance of welfare of seafarers in the amendments to the MLC 2006 Convention.